This morning after listening to both sides of a student debate on sex education in public schools, in which both sides had at least one person state that this, that, or the other had the effect of making sex "look OK" to teenagers, I had to intervene and ask, "But isn't sex OK? It's pleasurable, legal, and beautiful, what about it is not OK? and why would we want teenagers to get the impression that it isn't OK?"
Two or three students looked at me as if I had just farted the alto line to "Bells Will Be Ringing." But gradually everybody seemed to get my point and began to think twice about how they worded their ideas.
It's America, I tell you. Americans have it so fixed in their minds that sex is intrinsically bad that we can't imagine sex education that doesn't paint as dark and bleak a notion of even "God-sanctioned" vaginal intercourse (in the missionary position, no less) as possible.
Even students arguing the side supporting comprehensive sex education repeatedly named STDs and unwanted pregnancies as the focus of sex ed--not one word on sex as fun, rewarding, enriching of relationships, or self-defining.
All in all, though, I was pleased with the debates in all three classes today. My 11 o'clock class did a bang-up job in debating whether prostitution is inherently exploitative--both sides raised excellent points.
On days like today I begin to feel the students are learning something of value.